After launching a cryptic teaser website called “Hidden Bats” a couple of days ago, with an apparent connection to the upcoming AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiave, Spike Chunsoft has lifted the veil—or at least, removed one more layer of this enigma. Last night, the publisher kicked off Hidden Bats, a real-time mystery that will play out over the coming days and weeks on Twitter and other sites.
Hidden Bats revolves around two (fictitious, obviously) missing persons, Aine Ichirai and Binato Sotobara, each of whom is locked in a separate room. Every two days, they get brief access to a smartphone, with which they can post information and coded messages; if people decipher the code and reply with the correct password within time, the game continues until eventually, the captives are freed. To play, you’ll need to follow Hidden Bats, Aine Ichirai, and Binato Sotobara on Twitter, and try to solve each riddle with the clues provided; the Sunaiku Foundation website also has information about the cases, which could serve as vital clues.
It’s an intriguing game on its own, and it’ll be fascinating to see how it unfolds. But of more interest is the apparent tie-in to AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative. The character designs for Aine and Binato immediately call to mind Yusuke Kozaki’s distinctive artwork from the game, and some of the images in a bizarre video shared on the Hidden Bats site (which also holds the key solving at least the first set of riddles) have been seen in other trailers for the game. Most of all, this sort of abstract, cryptic way of building hype for a new game is very much in the wheelhouse of AI: The Somnium Files and director Kotaro Uchikoshi’s wheelhouse. Presumably (hopefully?), when all the riddles are solved, there’ll be some sort of new nirvanA Initiative announcement.
AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative itself launches on June 24 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s a sequel to the excellent detective adventure game AI: The Somnium Files, written and directed by Kotaro Uchikoshi (of Zero Escape fame).